The fifth and penultimate episode of Beyond The Menu, Mark Moriarty's new television show, aired on RTÉ last night, which saw the young chef visit Gertrude in Dublin to cook with Holly Dalton, his former classmate.
The first episode in this new six-part documentary saw Mark take a look behind the scenes at Pilgrim's in West Cork. In week two, Mark visited Clanbrassil House in Portobello to find out more about one of the country's youngest head chefs, Grainne O'Keefe. Then, we saw Mark journey back to West Cork to visit Rob Krawczyk from Restaurant Chestnut in Ballydehob. Last week, Mark teamed up with Ciaran Sweeney, his former mentor, at Forest and Marcy in Dublin.
Last night, Mark visited Dublin restaurant Gertrude to spend time with his former classmate, Holly Dalton. Holly, who is no longer working at Gertrude, and Mark were classmates while studying Culinary Arts at Dublin Institute of Technology, so they have a previously established rapport that carries very well throughout the episode.
As in previous episodes, we saw Mark talk with Holly to understand her food ethos and belief system. While sustainability and local sourcing are extremely high on her agenda, Holly's main focus is promoting female visibility in the kitchen.
Having been inspired by Jess Murphy of Kai, whose home the pair visit during the episode, Holly knows how important it is for women to have culinary role models. Jess fills that role for Holly, showing her how networks created to support women help to prop up the food scene in Galway.
View this post on Instagram
Today is the day! Tune in this evening 7.30p.m RTÉ One for my episode of Beyond the Menu. I had a blast filming this and I can’t wait to see how it turned out. There were so many moving parts to this, it was incredible to be involved. Particular shout out to @thewholehoggs @gertrudeireland @bread41dublin @kai_galway @picklemylove for giving so much of your time
Throughout their time together, it's clear that Mark has great admiration for Holly. She has advanced to a prominent position in Dublin as a young head chef who wants to create a positive working environment for her staff. If only all head chefs were like this – we would probably have a much more stable industry.
Lamenting the fact that women only seem to reach a certain level, Holly shows that she is determined to change the pattern and excel in her field, bringing her fellow female chefs with her. This seems quite eye-opening to Mark, who didn't seem to understand how deeply these issues affect women in the culinary industry. Once he understands Holly's plight, he seems even more determined to help lift up the women in his life, agreeing with Holly that their pop-up should be all about the women in their lives.
READ MORE: Beyond The Menu Episode Three Recap
The pair held their family-style pop-up in Gertrude, welcoming six important women, including Mark's mum and sister, Holly's mum and colleagues. Mark seemed uncharacteristically nervous ahead of this dinner, especially considering the calibre of pop-ups he has held in the past, but we imagine it's intimidating to cook for a group of such strong women. Holly holds her own in the kitchen, with the duo working together beautifully to create some absolutely delicious looking dishes.
This episode was a real testament to the strong women that build up kitchens around the country, but often don't get the recognition they deserve. Holly and Mark had great camaraderie and seemed to work together very naturally. Could we see the pair team up again in the future? Never say never.
Once again, my only criticism is that I would love for the episode to last for an hour, instead of just 30 minutes so that we can really get further into the chefs' lives and their food. Hopefully this will be a possibility if season two goes ahead.
Tune in next week for the final episode of the season, which will see Mark visit Jordan and Majken of newly Michelin-starred Aimsir in Kildare.